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Ross Leads Union Past Georgetown, into the National Finals

March 19, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score; Coach Interview) Union (Tenn.) used a 20-3 run to close the game in tonight’s 62-50 win over Georgetown (Ky.) in the national semifinals of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Union (35-2) advances to Tuesday night’s national finals where it faces Oklahoma City at 6 p.m. EDT. Oklahoma City beat Lubbock Christian (Texas) 85-55 earlier in the night.

“I thought we executed really well the last five to six minutes,” said Union head coach Mark Campbell. “We did a really good job getting shots under control and getting to the basket. And, we make free throws.”

The Bulldogs used tonight’s game-deciding run to erase a three-point deficit en route to advancing to the program’s ninth national final. Union owns five NAIA titles.

Up 32-24 at the break, Union -- who had closed the first half on a 9-1 run -- looked as if it would cruise past the Tigers (24-10). However, Georgetown refused to go away scoring nine of the first 10 points of the second half to tie the game at 33-33 with 14:56 left.

The two teams exchanged baskets over the next eight minutes as neither team could build more than a three-point advantage. The game featured nine ties and eight lead changes.

Georgetown led 47-44 -- its largest lead of the game -- following Angie Lawrence’s jumper near the free throw line with 6:33 left. The Tigers would manage just one more field goal for the game.

Union’s LaTesa McLaughlin tied the game at 47-47 on the Bulldogs’ next possession with a three from the deep right corner to start the game-ending run for the Bulldogs. It was McLaughlin’s only three of the night as she finished with eight points.

Following a Georgetown turnover -- one of four over the final six minutes -- Lavanda Ross scored two of her game-high 25 points to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.

Ross, McLaughlin and Astrid Huttemann -- who scored 16 points off the bench -- scored Union’s final 23 points to push the Bulldogs into their fourth straight title game.

Union continued its tournament dominance on the defensive end limiting the Tigers to just 29.4 percent (15-of-51) shooting for the game while forcing 19 turnovers.

Georgetown managed to stay in the game thanks to 17-for-20 shooting from the free throw line and a 44-28 rebounding advantage.

Georgetown’s Andrea Howard led the Tigers with 13 points while Devon Golden chipped in seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Tuesday night’s finals mark the second time Union and Oklahoma City have played this season. The Stars won the first meeting 69-57 on Nov. 26.
NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Bracket Announcement